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WordPress 4.4.2 Release

Earlier this week WordPress 4.4.2 was released. A new security and maintenance patch for version 4.4.2. All WordPress 4.4.1 and earlier websites are strongly recommended to backup the entire website and push the 4.4.2 update immediately. Two security issues were found in WordPress 4.4.1 and earlier. We’d like to discuss the two vulnerabilities in more detail for educational purposes.

The two attacks were a Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) for certain local URIs and an open redirection attack.

A SSRF is a vulnerability that appears when an attacker has the ability to create requests from the vulnerable server. In layman’s terms, an attacker can use SSRF to access the internal system that is not accessible from the outside world. This allows potential attackers to gain access to sensitive information stored on the website.You can see why WordPress wanted all of its websites to update immediately.

The second vulnerability, an open redirection attack, would allow an attacker to redirect the website to another source. For example, if a website is attacked with an open redirect, the website would take the user to another website. A good example is someone who redirects users who are going to destination A, but decides to take the users to destination B. Destination B can be numerous end points. From a program that installs malicious software to the computer being hijacked and requesting one’s credit card. The end game is not ideal for the non-savvy technical individual.

In addition to the WordPress 4.4.2 release plugging two major security holes, the update resolved 17 bugs from version 4.4 and 4.4.1. Feel free to browse the 17 WordPress bug fixes on the official website.

Highly recommended all WordPress website’s stay up to date with the latest releases. We discussed in another blog the importance of having all WordPress components updated. A good read about why it’s important to keep WordPress updated and how you can prevent malicious attacks to a WordPress website.

Top 5 WordPress Backup Plugins

5 Best WordPress Plugins for Backup and Restore

WordPress Backup Introduction

Let’s face it, WordPress is one of the most famous content management systems (CMS) on the planet. Dare we say one of the most powerful. However, the power house CMS doesn’t have a standard way to backup the system and the website. Shocking we know. The real question is, why do you need to backup the system and the website? Simple, there are numerous viruses, hackers, and other vulnerabilities that threaten the website. The ability to restore a website from a backed up copy provides peace of mind. Knowing a backup on the website is performed on a regular basis allows the business owner a good nights rest. The good news is there are numerous plugins that can help with backing up the website and the option to restore the site should the website experience any issues.

1. UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration

UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular backup and restorations plugins used on the WordPress.org repository. The plugin has 500,000+ active installations, meaning more than 500,000+ WordPress sites have the plugin installed. The plugin comes in two different versions, free and premium. The free version allows webmasters to backup the website and WordPress itself while storing the site on a remote storage. A remote server can consist of Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, to name few options. You can place the backup on a schedule to automate the process and have the ability to restore a website in case an issue were to arise. The plugin boasts the ability to quickly restore a website from the plugin and for added security layer can encrypt the data if need be. There are numerous other features that come equipped with the free version and the premium version comes with even more. Give UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration a chance by downloading the plugin on the WordPress plugin repository.

2. VaultPress

VaultPress is an awesome plugin. The component is a premium plugin that comes with a one push solution, literally. VaultPress performs all of the work for you. Think of it as a set and forget. VaultPress performs numerous background backups, while the website chugs along. VaultPress is an example of a paid plugin that delivers when the time arises. The plugin begins at $5 / month for the most basic plan. A lot of small business websites can get away with the cheaper plan for a cost savings benefit. In addition to performing backups of the website, VaultPress offer security scans. The security scans ensure no malicious software is on the website during backups and notifies the webmaster if there are any issues. VaultPress is a premium at an affordable price point.

3. BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy is another premium plugin. The plugin is highly respected in the WordPress community and many webmasters have either used the plugin for themselves or have implemented the plugin for customers. The features BackupBuddy provides are inline with most of the other high end solutions, but what separates this plugin is the ability migrate a WordPress website. The plugin provides the ability for webmasters to make a copy of the website, deploy the copy on what developers call a sandbox, which is a copy of the customer’s website, onto another host. Same can be said for non-developers. Customers can clone a website and move the website to another host with a click of a button. BackupBuddy is a strong, premium backup plugin that we highly recommend for all WordPress websites.

4. BackWPUp

BackWPUp is a free backup solution numerous WordPress sites implement. The plugin’s free and premium version has been downloaded more than 2,000,000 times as of this writing. The free solution comes equipped with standard features including, database backup, Backup with various storage options (Dropbox, Amazon, Google Drive etc.), and checks and repairs the website’s Database. The free solution is adequate for smaller websites, while the premium can be purchased for more features. The premium version of the plugin comes equipped with all of the free features and premium support for the plugin. The premium version starts at $75 per year. The price is fairly competitive considering the other plugins on the list.

5. WordPress Backup to Dropbox

The name in the plugin says it all, WordPress is backed up to Dropbox. The simplistic plugin is a breeze to install and connect to a Dropbox account. All of the data the plugin backups is stored on Dropbox. Depending on the size of the Dropbox account, you will have to manage the backups that are uploaded. For example, backups take up a lot of space rather quickly. If the Dropbox account is using the free version, which only comes with 2GB, space will become limited quickly. The plugin is suitable for smaller websites and works nicely with a service most customers are comfortable with.

 

WordPress 4.1 Has Arrived With New Features

Let’s take a journey down memory lane and remember the good ole days of WordPress 1.x, 2.x, and 3.x. Let’s discuss WordPress 4.1 and what to expect. The platform has come a long way and today boys and girls the all new WordPress 4.1 has been pushed to the masses for updating. We’ll discuss the newest features for WordPress 4.1 release and how you can start using these features today. As always, before upgrading your WordPress database, please be sure to make a backup copy or install a plugin that will help create a backup. Better safe than sorry.

Twenty Fifteen Theme

2015-theme

The annual twenty fifteen theme shipped with WordPress 4.1 and comes equipped with a brand new design. Think of the theme in a 2 column format. The left column is the location of the static menu items, while all of the dynamic content is located in the right column. The menu comes equipped with minimal descriptions for users to read and have a better understanding of what to expect on the next web page. In addition, widgets and custom HTML code can be inserted in the left column. Only your creativity will limit you here. The right column of the theme will be where the dynamic content will live. With a somewhat infinite scrolling feature, content can be simultaneously loading while the user scrolls through the page. Big images will really take advantage of the theme. Notice how elegantly the large images appear on the theme and professions such as photography will take advantage of the theme’s large imagery display. The theme really breathes freshness into the ever changing annual theme produced by the WordPress team. We are looking forward to the customization’s designers will be making to the twenty fifteen theme. I’m sure a showcase will be displayed in the next couple of weeks.

Distraction Free Writing

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From brain to keyboard is a process lots of bloggers implement when drafting a blog. WordPress 4.1 tweaked an already existing feature called Distraction-Free Writing mode. The icon appears in the upper right hand corner of the writing pane and below the Visual and Text tabs. The feature is a nice way of eliminating the noise surrounding the post and provides only the essential tools that are needed when composing a blog entry. Depending on one’s writing style, this may or may not be of use to all. Either way, the mode is welcomed and judging by the revisions to the mode I’m sure we will see more tweaks done the road.

These were some of the big feature updates that came with 4.1. We provided a bullet list of other featured items that include language translation, Vine embed codes, and plugin recommendations.

  • Choose a language – Right now, WordPress 4.1 is already translated into 44 languages, with more always in progress. You can switch to any translation under the General Settings.
  • Vine Embeds – Embedding videos from Vine is as simple as pasting a URL onto its own line in a post. See the full list of supported embeds.
  • Log Out Everywhere – If you’ve ever worried you forgot to sign out from a shared computer, you can now go to your profile and log out everywhere.
  • Plugin Recommendations – The plugin installer suggests plugins for you to try. Recommendations are based on the plugins you and other users have installed.

Have you updated your WordPress instance? Let us know in the comments section how it went!

All New Twenty Fifteen Theme Has Arrived!

The holiday season has arrived and we are excited to share a WordPress holiday treat. The hardworking boys and girls over at WordPress announced the all new Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme on December 10th. The new theme comes with many features and ready for WordPress bloggers and web designers to fully utilize. The theme is a nice, modern design that comes equipped with Noto Sans and Noto Serif type faces, custom colors and headers, and numerous HTML elements. The familiar aspects of social media icons, a search bar, etc. are included for WordPress regulars. The theme is responsive ready, which is great for all mobile devices. The real fun will begin with custom irritations of the theme and how designers redesign the theme to their liking. We are looking forward to the showcase of themes once designers and developers get their hands on the theme.

Here are screen captures of the theme.

Twenty Fifteen Home Page

Twenty Fifteen Theme Home Page

A welcomed edition is the static navigation bar aligned to the left while all of the content remains to the right with an infinite-like scrolling feature. Scrolling to the bottom is possible, but if the settings of the theme are not adjusted users will continue to scroll and scroll and scroll some more. For websites with loads of content, plan on modifying the settings to scroll to a certain instance.

Twenty Fifteen About Us

Twenty Fifteen About Us Page

The About Us page is a simple design with the dummy text added for visual presentation. The navigation include a small description about the menu item, which adds to the design and functionality traits of the theme. The white space throughout the theme is truly eye pleasing and compliments the theme’s design.

Feel free to add your Twenty Fifteen theme when it is complete or any theme you designed to the comments section! We enjoy looking at a wonderfully designed WordPress website.

Take the theme for a spin: Twenty Fifteen Theme.

What To Expect With WordPress 4.0

WordPress 4.0 launched today as the whole development community has been anticipating the latest version. If you have not received the update or plan on updating the WordPress instance, be sure to create backups in case something breaks on the website. Let’s take a look at the newest additions to the platform and what you can expect as a webmaster.

What’s New With WordPress 4.0?

The new update makes managing media and plugins a lot easier and more eye appealing. New in the WYSIWYG are embed codes. Since WordPress 2.9, users were able to add the embed code directly to the WYSIWYG which WordPress would automatically add the referenced media at a width appropriate to the theme currently installed. Adding a YouTube embed link comes to mind. The editor shows a true preview of your embedded video, saving everyone time. With WordPress 4.0, that automatically embedded code can now come from 20+ sites that are supported on WordPress. This is a step in the right direction when it comes to media management. The plugin addition received an overhaul. The new interface is in a grid format that makes adding plugins even easier. The new look replaces the delineated items and have been replaced with cards, which summarize a plugin’s title, description, author, rating and last update, as well as informs authors if the plugin works with the current version of WordPress.

Below are just some more features WordPress added to the update.

  • Manage your media with style: Explore your uploads in a beautiful, endless grid. A new details preview makes viewing and editing any amount of media in sequence a snap.
  • Writing and editing is smoother and more immersive with an editor that expands to fit your content as you write, and keeps the formatting tools available at all times. The formatting now scrolls with the author during when entering a blog post.
  • There are more than 30,000 free and open source plugins in the WordPress plugin directory. WordPress 4.0 makes it easier to find the right one for your needs, with new metrics, improved search, and a more visual browsing experience.
  • Finding the right plugin: There are more than 30,000 free and open source plugins in the WordPress plugin directory. WordPress 4.0 makes it easier to find the right one for your needs, with new metrics, improved search, and a more visual browsing experience.

What do you think of the latest version of WordPress?